Medically Tailored Meals Part 1
Medically Tailored Meals has been trending ever since the White House Conference in 2022 on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. As the Food as Medicine movement grows in popularity, Medically Tailored Meals will also continue to grow as a key intervention for chronic conditions and improving health outcomes.
Medically Tailored Meals (MTM) are meals approved by Registered Dietitians that meet very specific criteria based on medical nutrition therapy. Registered Dietitians implement evidence-based practice values, which enhances and builds on clinical expertise, knowledge of disease mechanisms, and pathophysiology. Evidence-based practice involves complex and conscientious decision-making based not only on the available evidence and research but also on client characteristics, situations, and preferences.
How Did MTMs start?
Great question! Food as Medicine became popular in the United States to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Researchers identified that healthy food choices may help prevent and treat disease while improving the health of those suffering from HIV/AIDS. This specific program had nutritionally balanced meals and even offered recipients up to 3 meals per day, 7 days per week.
Today, MTMs are available to over 36 medical indications and to those who are otherwise healthy and require a general healthy diet. In a recent study, researchers found that patients who received MTMs resulted in 16% savings in medical costs versus those who did not receive meals. In general, MTM recipients were associated with better medication adherence, decreased ER visits, decreased inpatient admissions, and were more likely to be discharged home.
Food as Medicine.
It’s known that prescription medications and lifestyle changes are important therapies to treat chronic illnesses. But, rather than thinking lastly about our food, let’s not neglect the most important element to improving conditions, the food.
Through MTMs, conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and even [some] mental health conditions can be managed. In the instance of diabetes, a dietitian-controlled meal with a set amount of carbohydrates can provide consistent carb intake throughout the day and avoid hypo and hyperglycemic episodes so, the recipient is thriving rather than surviving.
Most MTMs provide meals without carefully curating their ingredients. This means they add micronutrient blends to their meals or add food colorings and corn syrup. Nutrition for Longevity and N4L Health are selective of every ingredient we include in our meals. From the macro and micronutrients right down to the use of fillers and preservatives, we ensure the healthiest, whole-food, REAL ingredients are used. We tightly control the fat, carbohydrates, and protein in all of our baseline meal plans. When medical indication-specific, we tightly control micronutrients. In our Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) meal plans we have tight constraints on potassium, phosphorus, protein, sodium and even carbohydrates – as we know many in renal failure tend to be pre-diabetic.
100% Payer Coverage.
Through Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Advantage, Ryan White Foundations, Older Americans Act (OAA), Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Food Insecurity Programs, and even Hospital Post-Discharge Programs, our meals are available to clients at 100% coverage, dependent on their health insurance coverage or program affiliation. Those that are food insecure, suffer from a chronic condition, are elderly, or even need help with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). This means we’re serving those that can significantly benefit from home-delivered, medically tailored meals.
Help Yourself and Loved Ones.
If you are interested in making healthy changes to improve your chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, you may want to consider adding MTMs to your daily routine. They can help improve your health, lower healthcare costs, and keep you out of the ER more often.
Nutrition for Longevity and N4L Health provide MTMs direct to our recipients’ doors, nationwide. Our meals are ready-prepared and offer vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, poultry-free and fish-free options. Let our team take the guesswork out of meal planning (and cooking) and support you right away.
If you are a patient or healthcare provider looking for how to best incorporate medically tailored meals into your or your patient’s lives, please visit us at www.n4lhealth.com